Credit: McCrady's Restaurant
A lot can happen in 10 years. In the case of McCrady’s Restaurant, a lot has actually happened in the last 238 years, when Edward McCrady first built McCrady’s Tavern. The location has seen wars, presidents (such as George Washington), various ownership, and in the case of this article some pretty remarkable chefs.
For the celebration of 10 years as McCrady’s Restaurant, current executive chef Sean Brock welcomed back a pool of talent that worked in the kitchen previous years, to come back and cook for a special, one-night dinner.
Each chef took on a particular course and behind each morsel was a heartwarming story of his or her love for McCrady’s. Here is a snapshot of what was served.
Snacks were created by current chef Daniel Heinze, one of the most talent chefs in the city. While Heinze has a sense of humor and great personality, he likes to remain behind-the-scenes. His dishes always shine and though they were just “snacks,” they were big hits of the night.
The trio of a pokeweed fritter; masa topped with collard greens; and the foie gras, peanut, and grape were an homage to all three restaurants owned by The Neighborhood Dining Group. The PB&J was a dish that reminded Heinze of Brock — he applied for the job at McCrady’s after seeing a photo of Brock’s version of that same dish being served at the restaurant.
Chef Jeremiah Langhorne, who now is chef/owner of the wildly popular The Dabney restaurant in Washington, DC, served a grilled Carolina shrimp on a skewer. It was simply cooked, nice, and fresh with a lemon, brown butter sauce. He selected local shrimp because he no longer can access it as he once could and really misses being able to serve it fresh off the boat whenever he wants.
A Wadmalaw Strawberry Beet was served by chef Travis Grimes, executive chef at Husk. Grimes worked under Brock for several years at McCrady’s before going on to help him open Husk. He selected the veggie/fruit combo to show how he first learned how to cook vegetables the right way from working under Brock.
One of the highlights from the dinner was the green salad prepared by Chef David Breedan of The French Laundry. Chef Breedan worked under McCrady’s Restaurant original chef, Michael Kramer. The salad was made from vegetables flown in the day before from The French Laundry culinary garden. No wonder you could taste the California freshness.
To break up the evening, chef Sean Brock served a delicious brown oyster stew with benne and his “Charleston Carolina Gold Rice ice cream”. It was topped with flowers from the rooftop garden and was almost too pretty to eat.
Chef Kramer offered a dish featuring Palmetto Pigeon, a dish he enjoyed serving while he was at the helm of the establishment from 1996 to 2006. Kramer is now at Table 301 in Greenville and has an exciting new project in the works.
Kramer was followed by chef Steven Musolf. Musolf worked under him at McCrady’s and then moved with him to Greenville where he is now a chef at The Lazy Goat. Musolf served pork cheek with blond morsels, aligot, crispy nettles, and adobo that was inspired by Brock’s cookbook, Heritage.
Dessert was two-fold. One dish from former pastry chef Winburn Carmack who served profiteroles with coffee ice cream, hazelnut, and chocolate. She wanted to make one of Brock’s favorite desserts — coffee ice cream.
Current pastry chef Kate Keefe served a trio which included Black Walnut fudge (Brock’s recipe;) Mexican wedding cookie; and blueberry pate de fruit. Like Heinze, she paid an homage to all three restaurants which made for a nice ending to the dinner.
Not only was the dining room filled with longtime friends, customers, owners, media, and more, but also several past employees came back to celebrate the occasion. Beverage Director Cappie Peete Chapman led an amazing wine service with parings from some of the restaurant’s favorite producers. She even had the help of past beverage director, Clint Sloan, who served as a guest sommelier for the night as he shared stories and recommendations of some incredibly special pairings.
Cheers to all of the past and present chefs that make McCrady’s the place it is today and here’s to another decade of memories and incredible meals like this!